The Print Club of Cleveland was founded in 1919 by collectors of fine art prints and has continually been a source for print collectors in the Western Reserve since its inception.
The designation of a gallery for print exhibitions when the new building opened in 1916 indicates the importance of prints at the founding of the Cleveland Museum of Art. However, it was not until 1919 that the CMA print collection began to be formed when, under Ralph Thrall King’s tutelage, 16 men signed the articles of incorporation for the Print Club.
Over the last 91 years, despite continual change in the roster of Print Club members, there has been unwavering dedication to the founders’ twin purposes of enhancing the museum’s collection by gifts and stimulating general interest in print collecting. The group has given some of the crown jewels which considerably enrich the print collection, unsurpassed impressions of master prints of every period—by Dürer, Rembrandt, Degas, and Picasso, among others. The commitment and support of club members continues unabated since about one-third of the museum’s superb collection of over 18,000 prints are gifts from the club or its members.
Besides helping to form a collection that boasts rare treasures ranging from the beginning of printmaking in 15th-century Europe to the present day, the Print Club of Cleveland has also reached out to the larger community. By sponsoring lectures and the Fine Print Fair, for example, the club continues to educate the general public about printmaking and to stimulate interest in the fascinating and enjoyable activity of print collecting.
Dr. Jane Glaubinger, former Curator of Prints and Print Member.